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Federal Way, Washington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Federal Way, Washington
Five Mile Lake Park
Five Mile Lake Park
Flag of Federal Way, Washington
"It's all within reach",
"Centered on opportunity"
Location in Washington
Location in Washington
Federal Way is located in the United States
Federal Way
Federal Way
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 47°19′N 122°21′W / 47.317°N 122.350°W / 47.317; -122.350
CountryUnited States
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorJim Ferrell
 • Deputy mayorSusan Honda
 • Total23.70 sq mi (61.39 km2)
 • Land22.30 sq mi (57.74 km2)
 • Water1.41 sq mi (3.64 km2)
515 ft (157 m)
 • Total89,306
 • Estimate 
 • RankUS: 324th
WA: 10th
 • Density4,318.86/sq mi (1,667.49/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)253
FIPS code53-23515
GNIS feature ID1534582[4]

Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington, located within the Seattle metropolitan area. The population was 89,306 at the 2010 census and an estimated 96,289 in 2019.[5] Federal Way is the tenth-largest city in Washington and the fifth-largest in King County, according to the Census Bureau's 2019 population estimate.


Originally a logging settlement, the area was first called "Federal Way" in 1929.[6] The name derived from Federal Highway U.S. 99 (now State Route 99 or Pacific Highway South), which ran from Everett and Seattle to Tacoma.[6][7] The name "Federal Way" was first used in 1929 when five existing schools consolidated operations into School District #210 and planned construction of Federal Way High School, which opened in 1930 and gave its name to the school district.[8] The local chamber of commerce adopted the name in the early 1950s.[9] Federal Way is known for Illahee Middle School, a large producer of professional athletes and students who have found much success in STEM fields,[10] business,[11] and in law.[12]

Attempts to incorporate the city were voted down in 1971, 1981 and 1985.[13] The voters eventually approved incorporation as a city on February 28, 1990;[9] the official act of incorporation was held at the Sportsworld Lanes bowling complex.[13]

Commerce and attractions

Until 2014, Federal Way was home to Weyerhaeuser, the largest private owner of softwood timberland in the world. Weyerhaeuser had opened much of its land in Federal Way to the public, including two botanical gardens: the Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, and the Pacific Bonsai Museum. In 2014, the company announced it would vacate its Federal Way headquarters. City leaders have suggested promoting the location as a potential community college. Federal Way is also home to the US headquarters of World Vision International.

Other attractions in the city include the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, which features an Olympic-size swimming pool which has been used for the 1990 Goodwill Games and 2012 US Olympic Swim & Dive Trials. Celebration Park includes sports fields, a playground, and wooded trails. The city has also developed many lakefront and neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and trails.

The 40-acre (16 ha) PowellsWood Garden, known for its outstanding structural plantings and perennial borders, is located off South Dash Point Road. This land, on a portion of the Cold Creek ravine, was purchased by Monte and Diane Powell in 1993 in order to preserve green space in an increasingly urbanized area.

Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, the largest amusement park in the region, opened in 1977 on the south side of the city. It is the Seattle area's only permanent amusement park. Six Flags purchased Wild Waves in December 2000. However, after low sales, Six Flags sold the park in April 2007 to Parc Management LLC of Jacksonville, Florida, for $31.75 million.

Federal Way is locally identified by its 1990s semi-urban development, characterized by landscaped off-street multi-structure apartment complexes and shopping centers. The Commons at Federal Way, the city's only indoor shopping mall, is located on South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South (State Route 99) near the city's main Interstate 5 exit.

Major city and state parks

  • Steel Lake Park – located on S 312th Street east of Pacific Hwy S; large lakefront area with picnic areas, playground, and boat launch.
  • Celebration Park – on 11th Avenue S just south of S 324th Street; with sports fields and wooded trails, and Independence Day fireworks.
  • Dash Point State Park – 53rd Avenue SW & SW Dash Point Road; the only developed waterfront park located within the city, including hiking trails and campground.[14]
  • West Hylebos Wetlands Park – at S 348th Street and 4th Avenue S, with hiking trails through wetlands.[15] The park also features two iconic buildings: the nearby Barker Cabin built in 1883, which is the city's oldest known building, and the 22-by-22-foot (6.7 by 6.7 m) Denny Cabin, which was once located west of present-day Seattle Center.[16] The Denny Cabin was built by David Denny in 1889 as a real-estate office and was made from trees cut down on Queen Anne Hill.
  • Dumas Bay Centre Park – on SW Dash Point Road; includes a beach, picnic area and walking trail[17]
  • Lakota Park – on SW Dash Point Road; includes baseball field, softball field, football field and 440 yard running track[17]
  • Saghalie Park – at 19th Avenue SW; includes basketball court, 440-yard track, children's playground, soccer and football field, sand volleyball, tennis courts and baseball courts[17]
  • The BPA Trail extends from the entrance to Celebration Park west to approximately 18th Avenue SW, then south to the Pierce County border. The trail is paved and lies under the Bonneville Power Administration electricity transmission line.
Trilliums at Dash Point State Park
Trilliums at Dash Point State Park

Downtown tower projects

In 2007, the city of Federal Way purchased a downtown lot formerly used by a defunct AMC Theatres cinema, and invited proposals from two developers, United Properties and Alpert Capital, to develop a multi-use tower project in the downtown core, adjacent to the recently built transit center. Such a project follows in the steps of similar multi-use developments such as Kent Station in nearby Kent. The city awarded the contract to United Properties' "Symphony" project, comprising four 15–22 story towers, including 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of retail and office space, 900 housing units, and a large downtown park which would be relinquished to the city. Transfer of the land to United Properties followed by construction of the first tower was scheduled to start in mid-2008.[citation needed] However, in July 2008, United Properties requested a one-year extension on the terms of the purchase agreement, citing difficulties in the credit and housing markets to acquire the necessary funds.[18] In August 2009, United suggested scrapping the Symphony plan and instead building a performing arts center on the property, a proposal the city rejected.[19]

In September 2009 the South Korean development firm Lander Korus joined onto the project with United.[20] Korus proposed adding Asian elements to the building in order to attract investment and interest from the city's influential Korean population and foreign investment. However, by July 2010, after having granted United and Korus five extensions to close on the project, the city transferred the deal to another Korean developer, Twin Development,[21] which had planned a similar project on another lot. The new developer brought a new design, with two 45-story and one 35-story mixed-use towers. As of 2011 the new developers had yet to close on the property, citing financing difficulties, and had received the seventh extension on the land from the city, which expired in March 2011.[22] The developers were banking on the city's recently granted EB-5 visa qualification to encourage foreign investment in exchange for permanent resident status.[23] As of February 1, 2011, this deal was also dead, as the developer had failed to make a required escrow deposit by the end of January.[24]

In 2011 the city renewed its Request for Quotes for the undeveloped site, and received three proposals. The city ultimately chose a proposal by Arcadd known as the "Crystal Palace", a densely packed glass multi-tower structure where some of the towers bend outward near the top under 20 stories with a larger retail and public space pavilion at the base.[25] The developers, however, were unable to obtain the funds by the initial deadline. After extending the deadline eight months to allow Arcadd to obtain the necessary earnest money, and still seeing no progress, the city decided to move on with a different plan.[26] As of May 2013, plans for a downtown park and plaza complex were underway.[27] In 2014, the lot was repaved, leaving the AMC Theaters building foundation in place, but filling inside its perimeter with sod. The lot was rechristened Town Square Park and opened in early 2014. A plan for a more permanent park design on the site is being considered.

To the north of the downtown park, an elevated lot which was formerly the location of a Toys "R" Us store has been purchased by the city, which is slated to host a planned performing arts and civic center (PACC). The PACC proposal has been controversial, largely over funding and self-sustaining concerns (a similar city project, the Federal Way Community Center, opened in 2007 and ran for most of its operational history in the red), but has the support of most city leaders. It opened as the Performing Arts & Event Center (PAEC) in August 2017.[28]

Also in 2014, ahead of Veterans Day, the city introduced a 60-foot (18 m) flagpole on South 320th Street between Pacific Highway South and Pete von Reichbauer Way South.[29] The pole holds a 15-by-25-foot (4.6 by 7.6 m) flag.[30] While intended to be officially raised on Veterans Day, a smaller flag was raised to half mast on the pole in late October, in memory of State Representative Roger Freeman who died October 29 of that year. The portion of South 320th Street from Pacific Highway to Interstate 5 was dual-named "Veterans Way" in honor of veterans.


Presidential elections results[31]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 33.86% 14,150 63.25% 26,432 2.89% 1,207

Federal Way has mayor–council form of government with a seven-member city council whose members are elected at-large to staggered four-year terms.[32] The city initially had a council–manager government with an appointed city manager, but changed to the mayor–council system after a referendum in November 2009.[33] Former councilmember Jim Ferrell was elected as mayor in 2013.[34]


As part of the Washington State Growth Management Act of 1990 (GMA), Federal Way has identified areas of unincorporated King County as Potential Annexation Areas (PAAs) to be annexed to the city. Federal Way's current PAAs include the Star Lake and Camelot neighborhoods in Lakeland North and the neighborhoods of Parkland, Lakeland, and Jovita in Lakeland South. All of these neighborhoods are located east of the city proper. In 2004, the city annexed the Northlake, East Redondo, and Parkway neighborhoods, adding over 2,700 people and nearly 1 square mile (2.6 km2) of area. While Federal Way had previously considered Auburn's West Hill, Auburn annexed that along with Lea Hill in 2007.

In February 2007, the city announced formal plans to annex the majority of unincorporated land on its east border as one PAA named East Federal Way, comprising the Star Lake, Camelot, Lakeland, and Jovita neighborhoods,[35][36] and a strip of Peasley Canyon Road connecting the two areas. Annexation of the area would add 20,000 people and nearly 7 sq mi (18.1 km2) to the city, creating the sixth largest city in Washington by population, at over 106,000 residents and nearly 29 sq mi (75 km2).[37]

On August 21, 2007, residents of the proposed East Federal Way annexation area rejected annexation to Federal Way by a 66% to 34% margin.[38] Opponents of the plan, favoring remaining under direct King County government, asserted fears that increased density and higher taxes would result from annexation despite proponents showing studies that taxes and fees would be unchanged.[39]

In 2011, opponents of annexation petitioned King County to designate this same area as a township, a municipal structure that does not currently exist anywhere else in the state but which the state constitution provides for. Under the plan, township status would prevent the annexation of the area, which would be named Peasley Canyon Township.[40] The King County Council declined to act on the proposal, and the county elections board denied the group a ballot item.[41]


Largest employers

According to Federal Way's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[42] the largest employers in Federal Way are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Federal Way Public Schools 2,229
2 CHI Franciscan Health - St. Francis Hospital 1,014
3 World Vision International 853
4 United States Postal Service 654
5 Washington Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists 500
6 City of Federal Way 489
7 DaVita 470
8 Walmart 456
9 Fred Meyer 342
10 Costco 292
11 All Ways Caring HomeCare 247
12 Franciscan Medical Group 245
13 Virginia Mason Federal Way Medical Center 235
14 Community Integrated Services 225
15 Korean Women's Association 210


Federal Way is located in the southwest corner of King County at 47°18′47″N 122°20′21″W / 47.31306°N 122.33917°W / 47.31306; -122.33917 (47.312960, −122.339173).[43]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.46 square miles (58.17 km2), of which 22.26 square miles (57.65 km2) are land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) are water.[44]

Surrounding cities


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Federal Way has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[45]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)96,289[3]7.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[46]

2018 population estimates

As of 2018, the population estimate for Federal Way, WA was 97,044 people, 36,408 housing units. The median household income was $62,086.[47] 25.2% persons age 25 years and over had a bachelor's degree or higher.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 89,306 people, 33,188 households, and 22,026 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,011.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,549.0/km2). There were 35,444 housing units at an average density of 1,592.3 per square mile (614.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.5% White (51.6% Non-Hispanic White), 9.7% African American, 0.9% Native American, 14.2% Asian, 2.7% Pacific Islander, 8.3% from other races, and 6.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.2% of the population.

There were 33,188 households, of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.6% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.24.

The median age in the city was 34.9 years. 25.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.1% were from 45 to 64; and 10.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female. Federal Way has a large Korean American population at more than 5.5%, or 4,978 in the 2013 estimates.

In the city the population was spread out, with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,278, and the median income for a family was $55,833. Males had a median income of $41,504 versus $30,448 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,451. About 6.9% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Local media

One newspaper is published within Federal Way, the Federal Way Mirror.[48] The city receives additional coverage from most major media sources in both Seattle and Tacoma.

In 2008 the Federal Way Historical Society worked with Arcadia Publishing to publish Images of America: Federal Way, a photographic history of the traditional Federal Way area.[49]



Federal Way is served by I-5 (exits at 348th Street and 320th Street) and US Highway 99.

The Federal Way Transit Center, located on 23rd Ave S, was opened in 2006 and provides bus services.[50]

There is an ongoing project (Federal Way Link Extension) to extend Sound Transit light rail from the Angle Lake Station in the City of SeaTac to the Federal Way Transit Center. In January 2017 the final route was approved. Construction is planned to begin in 2019 and the service is expected to open for service in 2024.[51]

Notable people

Sister cities

Federal Way has the following sister cities:[56]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Federal Way". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Historical Society of Federal Way (2004). "Early Federal Way Schools and the Naming of the Federal Way Area" (PDF). p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 20, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  7. ^ Phillips, James W. (1971). Washington State Place Names. University of Washington Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-295-95158-3. OCLC 1052713900. Retrieved November 18, 2019 – via The Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "About City of Federal Way". City of Federal Way.
  9. ^ a b City of Federal Way. "City History". Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Stein, Alan. "Federal Way - Thumbnail History". Historylink.
  14. ^ "Washington State Parks". Archived from the original on October 23, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  15. ^ "Hylebos - EarthCorps".
  16. ^ McDonald, Cathy (December 24, 2009). "History and a rare peat bog at West Hylebos Wetlands Park". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c "City of Federal Way Community Parks".
  18. ^ "Developers changing their tune regarding Symphony development timeline". Federal Way News. July 21, 2008. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2008.
  19. ^ Howard, Jacinda (August 28, 2009). "Council still holds out hope for big high-rise project". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012.
  20. ^ Howard, Jacinda (September 15, 2009). "Downtown high-rises: Federal Way investor joins Symphony project". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012.
  21. ^ Howard, Jacinda (June 18, 2010). "High-rise developers pursue land purchase in Federal Way". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  22. ^ Howard, Jacinda (September 22, 2010). "Federal Way City Council to skyscraper developer: Where's your business plan?". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on February 21, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  23. ^ Admiral Commercial Real Estate (March 12, 2010). "Another high rise complex is proposed for Federal Way". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  24. ^ Howard, Jacinda (February 3, 2011). "Federal Way's high-rise deal dies". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  25. ^ Allmain, Greg (July 22, 2011). "Crystal Palace coming soon to downtown Federal Way". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013.
  26. ^ Allmain, Greg (October 3, 2012). "Crystal Way developer misses deadline for downtown site | City explores alternative". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  27. ^ Allmain, Greg (May 9, 2013). "Developer will study site for park in downtown Federal Way". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  28. ^ "About Us". Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  29. ^ "Officials raise downtown flag to honor veterans in Federal Way". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  30. ^ "Patty Murray to help raise new flag in Federal Way to honor veterans". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  31. ^ King County Elections
  32. ^ "City Council". City of Federal Way. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  33. ^ Hobbs, Andy (March 15, 2010). "Former mayors discuss Federal Way's first mayoral election". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  34. ^ Keller, Jessica (January 23, 2017). "Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell announces re-election bid". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  35. ^ PAA Community Level Subareas map Archived January 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Federal Way Proposed Annexation Area map[permanent dead link]
  37. ^ Proposed East Federal Way Annexation Area Archived November 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ East Federal Way annexation information (King County)
  39. ^ Archbold, Mike (August 22, 2007). "Two annexation areas passing". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved August 17, 2008.[dead link]
  40. ^ Hobbs, Andy (July 21, 2011). "Committee proposes new township in unincorporated King County". Federal Way Mirror. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  41. ^ Jerry (August 17, 2011). "Complaint filed with the courts". Archived from the original on July 11, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  42. ^ "City of Federal Way 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  43. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  44. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  45. ^ "Federal Way, Washington Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)".
  46. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  47. ^ "QuickFacts Federal Way city, Washington". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  48. ^ "Federal Way Mirror".
  49. ^ Maynard, Steve (November 21, 2008). "Federal Way's logging roots among nuggets of book". Retrieved December 8, 2008.
  50. ^ "Riders Guide: Federal Way Transit Center". Sound Transit.
  51. ^ "Federal Way Link Extension". Sound Transit.
  52. ^ "Floyd Little on NFL Hall of Fame ballot". KOMO News. August 16, 2009. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  53. ^ Raley, Dan (September 10, 2003). "Catching up with ... Dan Spillner". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  54. ^ Horner, Margo (December 27, 2006). "A phone call away from Donald Trump". Federal Way Mirror.
  55. ^ Federal Way Public Schools. "Federal Way Public Schools Graduates of Note: James Sun". Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2009.
  56. ^ "Federal Way Sister City Association". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 17, 2008.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 August 2021, at 16:09
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